Jose has been a volunteer with Families In Schools since 2019 and has contributed over 400 hours of his time, commitment, and creativity. In this essay, he shares his volunteer experience with FIS, what he has learned, and his future goals.

Being a volunteer for Families In Schools (FIS) has allowed me to meet people passionate about helping students succeed in education. It has also allowed me to understand why it is essential for parents and communities to be more involved with their children’s education. I have been able to get out of my comfort zone and try new things that I thought I would not be able to do. For example, throughout my time volunteering at FIS, I have obtained knowledge that I could use to help my community and have taken on new challenges. FIS has taught me the importance of working together as a team to accomplish their mission and improve our community’s involvement.

Here are some examples of how I have helped FIS accomplish their goals and vision. I supported FIS staff by entering data for their Alliance 2019 Summit event, which helps improve their future efforts and secure funding for next year’s event. Additionally, I supported their 2020 Reading Challenge by entering reading logs. By volunteering for the 2020 Reading Challenge, I was able to see parents and children spend more time together reading. It was awesome to see students from different grades read millions of words. Furthermore, I helped research and find engagement programs in each California school district. This research project helped Families In Schools see gaps in family engagement programs to provide different schools’ resources.

Also, I had the chance to learn how to use different graphic design and link management platforms. For instance, I updated graphics for the Reading Challenge blog using Canva. Moreover, I created short links using Bitly to create downloadable PDFs of COVID-19 resources to support undocumented families. Nevertheless, my experience at Families In Schools was extra unique because I got to work with some fantastic people.

The Families In Schools’ staff believed in me when I did not believe in myself. The FIS team taught me many things about working in a non-profit organization. For example, their Communications & Marketing Manager, Cynthia Perez, introduced me to different organizations, and I met so many amazing and talented people. She trusted me with the tasks and assignments. I hope to continue helping and giving my time to FIS. My aspiration is to one day work in an organization like Families In Schools and be part of a team that cares about our students and our community’s education.